VULENRABLE families in Wyre Forest have been handed a lifeline after a government-backed agency reversed its original decision to slash funding to a local debt advice scheme.
The Money Advice Service’s u-turn today means Wyre Forest Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) will not have its grant halved and instead will receive the full £50,000 it needs to continue helping desperate families in Kidderminster, Stourport and Bewdley.
Lobbying by the community-based charity, intervention by Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier and press coverage in The Shuttle helped to bring about the change.
Kate Bennett, manager of Wyre Forest CAB, said: “This is wonderful news and means that we shall not have to cut back on the debt advice we offer.
“It seems that somewhere flawed data was used to justify the cut, but by alerting the Money Advice Service to the problem it has changed its mind.
“This demonstrates how pressure can be exerted to get the right result.
“With increases in interest rates expected and limited competition among banks, especially in smaller towns such as Stourport and Bewdley, it is essential that local people have somewhere to go to obtain free, confidential, and impartial advice.”
Conservative Mark Garnier added: “I am really pleased the Money Advice Service has reversed its decision.
“Wyre Forest CAB provides an incredibly important service and it needs to be funded properly.
“It is a great organisation, effective at what it does, and it helps a lot of people in Wyre Forest.”
Last year the CAB branch completed 60 debt relief orders and 14 bankruptcy petitions and supported 1,200 families in total.
In The Shuttle’s edition of Thursday, July 17 Wyre Forest CAB warned the funding cut would leave local families at risk of losing their homes, suffering marital breakdowns and experiencing mental health problems, while one part-time case worker would face redundancy.
All of these fears have now been removed and a full service of debt advice will be provided in the district next year.